The Senators intend to shop for an experienced scoring winger, while the Avalanche consider trading this year’s first overall draft pick.
OTTAWA CITIZEN/OTTAWA SUN: Senators GM Bryan Murray acknowledged his club’s need for more scoring punch, saying he’ll consider packaging prospects to land an experienced scoring forward, preferably someone between 28-30 years of age.
Ken Warren also suggested some free agent targets for Murray, including New Jersey’s David Clarkson, NY Islanders Brad Boyes, Boston’s Nathan Horton and Chicago’s Bryan Bickell. Murray also intends to meet with his unrestricted free agents regarding their futures with the club. Defenseman Sergei Gonchar would like to stay, perhaps on a two-year deal, but he’ll have to accept a pay cut to do so.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The pickings are currently slim in the UFA market, but the depth could improve if several cap-strapped teams are forced to use compliance buyouts to dump some high-salaried talent, which could then be available at bargain prices. Murray’s been in the market for an experienced scoring winger for some time, but he’s been unwilling to gut his future for a quick fix. Given the club’s depth in promising young talent, he can afford to shop prospects without jeopardizing the future. This summer could finally bring Murray’s long search for a scoring winger to a satisfactory conclusion.
DENVER POST: Mark Kiszla reported on the the Avalanche’s willingness to consider shopping their first round pick, first overall in this year’s draft. If they keep the pick and select center Nathan MacKinnon over defenseman Seth Jones, Kiszla speculates they could shop center Paul Stastny or another center as trade bait for a defenseman or a goaltender.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most GMs with the first overall pick tend to play coy over the possibility of trading it. Almost always, they retain the pick. The fact the Avs are publicly willing to entertain offers is a bold move, though no guarantee the pick will be shopped. It will, however, generate considerable interest, and could result in an offer too good pass up. Remember, the Avs (in their former incarnation as the Quebec Nordiques) eventually traded Eric Lindros to Philadelphia for a return which included players and prospects which helped them become a Stanley Cup champion. That obviously isn’t lost on co-VP of hockey operations Joe Sakic, who was a rising star with the Nords back then. At the very least, this will ramp up more interest in this year’s NHL entry draft.